Friday, August 22, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #355

Entry #355
August 22, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you once again from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have been carrying on in my usual fashion celebrating the dog days of August.  My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have been insanely busy with work which means that I had to redouble my efforts to distract them from the unpleasant realities associated with making a living. I am a true Lily of the Field, I neither toil nor spin but
merely hang around reaping the benefits of those that do. And I am quite a successful Lily of the Field if I do say so myself.  The latest use to which I have put my human’s paycheck is an expensive canister of probiotic powder that is supposed to rein in the fragrant flatulence with which I am so amply endowed.  We are on Day 3 of the first week at half dose and I am happy to report that both with respect to the quantity and the quality of the stench my intestines seem to be going in the opposite direction. This is hardly surprising as the rest of me always goes in the opposite direction so why should my digestive tract be any different. Even my humans are in awe.  I think the plan is to keep me on the stuff for as long as they can stand it, which at this rate will not be very long.

And of course work continues apace on my art books, all of which are now complete but my humans must figure out how to format it so it will look the way that they want it to on iPads, Kindles and mobile phones.  Maria took last Friday off so we could all go over to Elizabeth’s to work on this but my humans concluded that Elizabeth’s Mac is very unhappy with Amazon’s Preview software and with MS Word.  This necessitated a return to Maria’s PC laptop, which meant many happy hours (for me) spent in the yard watching them struggle. Kindle Direct Publishing likes text and Kindle Comic Creator likes pictures but neither one likes both text and pictures.  These sessions generally end in drinks for them and hand fed cocktail nuts for me.

Therefore, I take no responsibility for my tragic absence from the blogosphere—as with most things, it is my humans’ fault.  I had hoped to be able to announce the availability of the books today but sadly Elizabeth had another Unfortunate Encounter with Comic Creator, so no Wimsey art books today but only a consolation blog post instead.  It will be Maria’s turn to tame the technology beasts this evening.  She plans on stopping at the liquor store first. 
But what would make the ladies think that anything connected with me, even on a computer would be easy. And lest everyone jump to the obvious conclusions, let us just say that my humans are a lot better at computers than they are at driving cars, pumping gas or dressing themselves. A very low bar, I agree, but at her company Maria is the go-to person for computer and software help when the IT guy isn’t available and Elizabeth’s idea of a fun shopping trip is an afternoon spent at Best Buy.

But with respect to the whole dressing issue, help may be on the way. Elizabeth read about an online company called StichFix that sends you clothes that they pick out for you based on a questionnaire and your written instructions. Apparently she has gotten tired of her extensive wardrobe of Hounding tee shirts and jeans and requested that they send her new Hounding clothes.  She was pretty explicit about what happens to clothing when I am around and mentioned several times that the clothing needs to be inexpensive and washable and that it is going to be worn with sneakers. She is also open to replacing The Fanny Pack that Ate Cleveland with something more ladylike—provided it’s not something that will fall into my poop when she bends over. We are all eagerly awaiting the shipment which is due to arrive on the 11th. Especially me.  I am bored with sliming, perfuming and porcupining the same old clothes. I want new ones to wreck!

Anyway, Elizabeth’s Mac may be unhappy with Amazon’s book publishing software but fortunately it is very happy with me.  This is probably due to my regular visits over the past several weeks to the Apple Store to get a drink from the Wimsey-sized water bowl that they have at the door and to cool off in their powerful AC. Last week, in fact I was so pleased with the amenities that I gave an impromptu concert that, unlike many of my other concerts, was enormously appreciated by those present.  I had quite a circle of admirers and the consensus was that I was in such fine form because of the excellence of the amplifying acoustics. The only thing better than listening to me bay is listening to me bay loudly. And the only thing better than listening to me bay loudly is having ear plugs.

This brings me to one of my primary grievances, which is that there is never any photographic record of my finest moments.  My concertizing in computer stores, my incessant shopping in pet shops and my being scratched and belly rubbed by entire crowds of people are wholly unrecorded. Apparently when I engage in anything really fun, Elizabeth, who is supposed to spend the day walking and photographing me, feels the need to keep both hands on the leash. Such a lack of trust does her no credit.

So I know that you all must have missed me terribly and want to know what I have been up to. Well the short answer is “same old, same old,” the longer answer involves a lot of texting between my humans on the subject of me being a “gift” and the mixing of cocktails.  When I am absent I know that my adoring public (well Maria’s mother, anyway) worry that either I am unwell or that I am in a snit because one of my humans is indisposed.  But we have all been fine (or in the case of my humans, as fine as you can be when I am around)-- we are just having a busy summer. The fall promises to be just as active— my books should be out and Maria will be out of town for a few days in both September and October which means that I will be staying with Elizabeth and she will be at my beck and call 24/7. And when she is not attending to my every whim, she will no doubt be texting Maria. And drinking gin. And hoping that she has to go to Europe again.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy the last week of summer.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a Hound of the field who neither toils nor spins but is really annoying anyway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #354

Entry  #354
August 1, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, back at my post (no pun intended) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan helping to celebrate the advent of August and hopefully the approaching demise of the summer “No Walk Zone.”  For the uninitiated this is anywhere where there is direct sunlight. And such is the delicacy of my petite feet that my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth can almost hear me chanting “feet feet feet” as I hightail it across the tarmac.

But first, I must tell you that I have been severely chastised for omitting to let everyone know that my toe recovery was substantially assisted by the large hunk of Morbier cheese that my humans bought for me. I am especially partial to Morbier, as my humans discovered during one of my many previous medical crises and I will eat it even if I refuse other food. The healing properties of Morbier are not to be underestimated. Fortunately (for me, at least), loss of appetite did not occur post toe surgery and the presence of the Morbier did not inhibit me from snacking on all the other cheeses on the cheese plate—preferably when they were presented on a nice crusty piece of baguette that the ladies were trying to eat.  Sadly, Fairway baguettes don’t taste like the ones in Paris but in life one has to deal with such vicissitudes. And these days the toe is in such fine shape that it is like it never happened. Except for the bill.

But summer (and the ever-present threat of the dreaded cooling coat) is not wholly without its benefits.  My humans and I do hang out in the backyard more often and we have already had two episodes of Adventures in Barbecuing.  The first of these included a salmon steak from the fancy fish store that was for my exclusive gustatory pleasure. This was nearly not the case as Elizabeth found her chicken uneatable and Maria suggested that she should have my salmon instead. (Naturally my food was the only thing that turned out nicely). But Elizabeth was suitably horrified—it was all  “But that’s Wimsey’s salmon! “ So I had my salmon as well as Elizabeth’s chicken and eventually all the rest of the half chicken that she had optimistically bought.  Episode Two was more successful, although not from my point of view since the food turned out better.  Maria made pizza dough and we had grilled pizzas.  They weren’t too bad so the ladies actually ate them, although they were too large so I was once again called upon to employ my culinary skills to assist them.  I have no idea what is being planned for our next al fresco meal but I am pretty sure that it’s going to involve a menu and a phone.

Summer is also good for visiting the Boat Basin Café, although one horrifying day this week they actually ran out of Milkbones. I’m afraid I refused to believe that such a catastrophe could occur so I parked myself where they should have been and refused to move.  This created something of a traffic jam for the wait staff in whose way I was.  The impasse ended when Elizabeth forcibly dragged me out of the place while trying to distract me with a fistful of turkey. As if.  I get plenty of turkey (those who read this blog regularly will no doubt recall that turkey is the preferred meat in the pantheon of Wimsey Bribe-a-thon snacks) and I like the novelty of being served by different humans. Anyway, I assume that my rather robust response to the dearth of Milkbones had its effect because today as soon as the cashier saw me she hustled off to procure me a Milkbone.

And of course summer in the city also means that there are many activities such as this Sunday’s Riverside Park triathlon. This got me thinking that there should really be a Hound triathlon, although picking just three events from the plethora in which we excel is something of a challenge:

Hound Triathlon

Event One: Gardening- Hounds will uproot and destroy a garden containing ten, expensive ornamental shrubs and dig a minimum of ten holes.  Points awarded for speed and degree of destruction.  Bonus points awarded for digging extra holes.

Event Two: Laundry-- Hounds will locate, invade and shred a large laundry basket filled with used ladies undies.  Bonus points awarded for also destroying the basket.

Event Three: Towing—A timed event in which Hounds tow their humans over a five mile course containing mounds of horse poop, all of which must be located and snacked upon. Bonus points awarded for dragging humans through the horse poop.
But really, there are hundreds of potentially enjoyable events that could be used to construct a Hound triathlon.  This week, for instance I used my prodigious powers of excrement retention to make my humans waste the maximum amount of time for the minimal amount of effect. Elizabeth and I took a leisurely 1 ½ hour walk during which time I visited Unleashed to cadge a cookie and then the Apple Store for a drink to wash it down with, but somehow did not find the time to locate a suitable place to poop. Back at Elizabeth’s I had a lovely lunch of cold chicken, yam and pumpkin (as well as some distasteful kibble), ate a bully stick (there really ought to be a twelve step program for those) and settled in for my usual afternoon nap. But later after some vigorous and noticeably detectable peristaltic activity I determined that I wished to go out again. So I alerted Elizabeth to the situation by finding a bully stick nub (useful things, those) and flinging it at her, having multiple drinks of water and shaking my head in her vicinity and then wiping my snout on her pant leg, and digging in my toy pile to have various creatures weigh in on the issue. Finally she got up from her work and started to prepare for a walk. At which point I lay down and went to sleep.  We did actually go out for our next walk a bit early, which necessitated Maria meeting us directly from work which resulted in the sliming of her work clothes and her having to walk in shoes that are not sneakers. Then there are so few good spots to poop in New York that it took me another hour to find one.  For inexplicable reasons, my humans were perturbed.

Anyway, enough about me (not).  I thought that since it was summer we should look in on my friends Dick and Jane.

Summer Fun With Dick and Jane

See Dick. Dick is in the Hamptons. Dick’s father runs a hedge fund. He is also called Dick.

Dick is sad. Dick’s parents are not celebrities. Dick’s parents do not know Martha Stewart. Dick’s parents do not own their own jet.  They eat gluten. Dick is underprivileged.

See Jane. Jane is happy. She is going to visit Dick.

“Hello Dick”, said Jane. “Hello Jane” said Dick. “Let’s eat the cupcakes that I helped the housekeeper bake, “ said Dick. “I like cupcakes.” said Jane.

See Dick’s Hound. See Dick’s Hound’s nose.  See the frosting on Dick’s Hound’s nose. Dick’s Hound eats gluten.

“I can’t find the cupcakes,” said Dick. “Never mind” said Jane. ‘Cupcakes make you fat.”

“Let’s have a picnic on the beach!” said Dick. “I like picnics on the beach!” said Jane. Dick’s Hound also likes picnics on the beach.

See Dick and Jane at the beach. They have turkey, cheese and kale sandwiches. “Where is the turkey said Dick?” “Where is the cheese?” said Jane. Dick’s Hound does not like kale.

“Never mind” said Jane. “Turkey and cheese make you fat.”

See the sun. The sun is very hot. “I am hot,” said Dick. “I am hot,” said Jane. Dick’s Hound is also hot.“ See the big umbrella.  “Let us sit under the big umbrella,” said Dick. “I would like to sit under the big umbrella,” said Jane. Dick and Jane cannot sit under the big umbrella. There is no room.

“Let’s build a sand castle!” said Dick.  See Dick and Jane build a sand castle. The sand castle is very tall.  See Dick’s Hound.  Dick’s Hound likes tall sand castles.  See Dick’s Hound admire the tall sand castle. See Dick’s Hound add a moat. See Jane cry.

See the nice lady. “Don’t cry little girl,” said the nice lady. “Here is a cookie,” said the nice lady. “The cookie has no gluten,” said the nice lady. “The cookie has no sugar,” said the nice lady. “The cookie has no fat,” said the nice lady. “It does not taste very good,” said the nice lady. “The Hound will not like the cookie”

See Jane. Jane is happy. The nice lady gave her a cookie. See Dick. Dick is happy. The nice lady was Martha Stewart.

The End

But my humans and I do not want to be in the Hamptons. We have the yard. And the barbecue (Although I bet Martha Stewart is better at barbecuing).  But seriously…

Anyway, that’s about it for this week. I have my duties to attend to-- which mainly consist of making sure that my humans don’t attend to theirs.  I especially like it when Elizabeth nags Maria about why she hasn’t done something for my book project and all eyes swivel in my direction. Apparently working on the computer is incompatible with having me in your lap.  Who knew?

Until next time,

Wimsey, making summertime living not easy